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The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough. Jaime Teevan, MIT. with Christine Alvarado, Mark Ackerman and David Karger. Let Me Interview You!. Web:. What’s the last Web page you visited? How did you get there? Have you looked for anything on the Web?. Email:.

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The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough

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The perfect search engine is not enough l.jpg

The Perfect Search Engine Is Not Enough

Jaime Teevan, MIT

with Christine Alvarado, Mark Ackerman and David Karger


Let me interview you l.jpg

Let Me Interview You!

  • Web:

  • What’s the last Web page you visited? How did you get there?

  • Have you looked for anything on the Web?

  • Email:

  • What’s the last email you read? What did you do with it?

  • Have you gone back to an email you’ve read before?

  • Files:

  • What’s the last file you looked at? How did you get to it?

  • Have you looked for a file?


Overview understanding l.jpg

Overview:Understanding

Search

Directed

  • Introduction

  • Related work

  • Methodology

  • What we learned

    • How?

    • Why?

    • Who?

    • So what?

Prefer to search in steps

Because it’s easier

Step size varies by person


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Haystack

Haystack:Personal Information Storage

Web pages

Email

Files

Calendar

Contacts


Directed search in haystack l.jpg

Directed Search in Haystack

What was that paper I read last week about Information Retrieval?

Haystack


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Directed Search in Haystack

Ah yes!

Thank you.

Haystack


Or elsewhere l.jpg

…Or Elsewhere

Ah yes!

Thank you.

“Perfect Search Engine”


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Related Work

  • Directed search

    • Lab studies [Capra03, Maglio97]

    • Log analysis [Broder02, Spink01]

  • Observational studies [Malone83]

  • Information Seeking

    • Marchionini, O’Day and Jeffries, Bates, Belkin, …

    • Evolving information need


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Modified Diary Study

  • Subjects: 15 CS graduate students

  • Ten interviews each (2/day x 5 days)

  • Two question types

    • Last email/file/Web page looked at

    • Last email/file/Web page looked for

  • Supplemented with direct observation and an hour-long semi-structured interview


Overview understanding10 l.jpg

Overview:Understanding

Directed

Search

  • Introduction

  • Related work

  • Methodology

  • What we learned

    • How?

    • Why?

    • Who?

    • So what?


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Directed Search Today

  • Target: Connie Monroe’s office number

 Type into a search engine:

“Connie Monroe, office number”


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What We Observed

Interviewer: Have you looked for anything on the Web today?

Jim: I had to look for the office number of the Harvard professor.

I: So how did you go about doing that?

J: I went to the homepage of the Math department at Harvard


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What We Observed

I:So you went to the Math department, and then what did you do over there?

J:It had a place where you can find people and I went to that page and they had a dropdown list of visiting faculty, and so I went to that link and I looked for her name and there it was.


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What We Observed

J:I knew that she had a very small Web page saying, “I’m here at Harvard. Here’s my contact information.”


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Strategies Looking for Information

Teleporting

Orienteering


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Why Do People Orienteer?

  • The tools don’t work

  • Easier than saying what you want

  • You know where you are

  • You know what you find


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Easier Than Saying What You Want

  • Describing the target is hard

    • Can’t

    • Prefer not to

  • Habit

    • “Whichever way I remember first.”

  • Search for source

    • E.g., Your last email search


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You Know Where You Are

  • Stay in known space

    • URL manipulation

    • Bookmarks

    • History

  • Backtracking

    • Following an information scent

    • Never end up at a dead end


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You Know What You Find

  • Context gives understanding of answer

    “I was looking for a specific file. But even when I saw its name, I wouldn’t have known that that was the file I wanted until I saw all of the other names in the same directory…”

  • Understanding negative results

    “I basically clicked on every single button until I was convinced… I don’t think that it exists…”


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Individual Strategies

  • Search strategies varied by individual

  • People who pile information take small steps

  • People who file information take big steps

  • Where was the last email you found?

  • Inbox?

  • Elsewhere?


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File or Pile Email

Filer

Piler


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How Individuals Search For Files

Filers

Big steps

Pilers

Small steps


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Applying What We Learned

 Support orienteering

  • Advantages to orienteering

    • Easier than saying what you want

    • You know where you are

    • You know what you find

  • Individual differences in step size

  • Meta-info, source, flag sources with info

  • URL manipulation, paths apparent, all steps

  • Answer context, trusted sources, exhaustive

  • Allow for different step sizes


Structural consistency important l.jpg

Structural Consistency Important

All must be the same to re-find the information!


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Preserve What User Remembers

  • Supports orienteering for re-finding

  • Allows access to new information


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More to Learn from the Data

  • Differences in finding v. re-finding

  • How organization relates to search

  • Importance of type (email, files and Web)

  • Looked at v. looked for

     Keep in mind population


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Questions?

Teevan, J., Alvarado, C., Ackerman, M. S. and Karger, D. R. (2004). The Perfect Search Engine is Not Enough: A Study of Orienteering Behavior in Directed Search. To appear in Proceedings of CHI 2004.

(Linked from http://www.teevan.org)


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Relating How and What

  • People only keyword search 39% of the time

  • What people look for related to how they look

Orienteer to specific information

  • Surprise:


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Relating How and Corpus

  • Email and files: Almost never keyword searched

  • Easy to associate information with document

  • Web: Used keyword search much more often


Relating what and corpus l.jpg

Relating What and Corpus

  • Email searches were primarily for specific information

  • File searches were primarily for documents

  • Web searches were more evenly distributed


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